Fair-well: 2011 Wayne Regional Fair ends with Demolition Derby, Round Two
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on October 9, 2011 1:50 AM
News-Argus/MICHAEL K. DAKOTA
Brothers Laarry and Chris Lane entertain the crowd at the demolition derby at the Wayne Regional Agricultual Fair. Chris wound up taking first place.
Larry Lane reached up and out of his driver' side window and snapped off his orange flag, indicating he was still active in the demolition derby Saturday afternoon before a roaring crowd, but if you could see his face when he crawled out of the cabin of his beat-up Chevy Impala, you wouldn't know he had just bowed out of the final heat of the derby.
His brother, Chris, who was idling alongside him, crawled out of his mangled car and onto his hood. He leapt onto Larry's hood where the two embraced and turned toward the roaring crowd on either side of the Grandstand arena.
They -- the capacity crowd -- were the true winners.
It was quite a show, even by demolition derby standards, featuring an inspired effort by Chris Ward in the No. 711 War Wagon as he spent half of the final heat on three tires and a wheel and a thrilling finish which included Chris Lane's No. 420 getting lifted up onto the concrete wall twice before he dueled his brother to a finish.
And that type of crowd-pleasing approval was just what the Lane brothers wanted.
"We just kept talking to get each other unhung," Larry said of the final minutes of the derby, during which the two communicated to make sure the hundreds gathered could see a few more collisions before the roars of the engines died down.
And that, it seemed, was the theme of the derby, although the Lanes said it wasn't necessarily a good thing as their competitive nature gave way to showmanship.
They, and other drivers in the derby, were still unhappy with rules changes made to the derby back during the summer.
Their cars all carried flags evoking the memory of Pam Aycock, who ran the derby for decades, and who, they said, would be appalled at what the competition had become.
They were particularly unhappy with the 28-car limit, which they said limited competitors, and the drawing process, which pitted six cars all from the same shop against each other in the derby's final heat.
Still, the crowd seemed content with the collisions which left all but two of the cars inoperable by the end of the derby, including a Cadillac another set of brothers worked on.
Johnny and Mickey Phillips entered nearly identical yellow and red cars evoking the colors of their fruitstands in the first heat of the derby Saturday, and when one was all but totaled, they worked together to mend their sole entry into the final heat by borrowing some wires from the conquered car to keep the other one running.
"We worked together to advertise our stands," Mickey said, adding this was their first derby in about five years. "We do it to have fun."
And to entertain, it would seem, as even the Queen of the Fair was enthralled with the mudslinging mayhem. The dirt clods entered the VIP box where Charlotte Kornegay was standing, leading her to hide behind a black garbage bag up against a mud-splattered wall.
"It's so exciting," she said during the competition. "I'll have to come very year now."